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Object Relations Theory

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Object Relations Theory: the idea that the ego-self exists only in relation to other objects, which may be external or internal. The internal objects are internalized versions of external objects, primarily formed from early interactions with the parents. There are three fundamental "affects" that can exist between the self and the other - attachment, frustration, and rejection. These affects are universal emotional states that are major building blocks of the personality.
(Wikipedia)



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Objects can be represented as "good" or satisfying one's needs and desires, or "bad" and not satisfying one's needs and desirs.

In short, object-relations is a way of conceptualizing interpersonal relations and extending psychoanalytic thinking into the interpersonal realm, but with a vocabulary that sounds rather odd to those not verse in the theory. It looks for the basis of our ways of relating to others at an earlier stage of development than did Freud, who emphasized the "genital stage."

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Melanie Klein